“Western liberal democracy might prove to be not
the final destination on the democratic road, but just one of the many possible exits.”
Twenty years ago, in an article entitled “The Rise of Illiberal Democracy” (published in the Nov./Dec. 1997 issue of Foreign Affairs journal), Fareed Zakaria presented a somewhat controversial term he called “illiberalism”. The original article (the PDF of which is referenced here) was originally intended as Exhibit A in a much broader post for this week. However, on further consideration, its length and profundity warrant a front and center prominence the original post design did not afford.
Additionally, take a read through Zakaria’s December 2016 follow-up to the original article as well as both an analysis of and a counter to his proposals.
Next week we will reference these articles in a broader context which considers the possibility that while democracy could be on the demise worldwide, the American use of the phrase “death of democracy” could refer to the wane of something considerably more profound than we imagine.
Traveling the land, this free tea house cultivates community,
health, peace, sustainability, and genuine human interactions.
Follow Edna Lu the Free Tea Bus and her operator,
Guisepi, as they adventure through America.
We introduced our young friend Guisepi Spadafora, the Tea Man, to this community back in January with a follow-up query about possible summer projects for Guisepi and Edna. As noted in his newsletter below (full text included), he is looking for a place to settle for a bit, perhaps for the winter, to write–somewhere in the southwest. Since some of you live in that area, you might have some ideas. If so, and especially if you are not familiar with the Tea Man’s lifestyle and more than a decade of Good work, take a look at his newsletter and the links within it. Guisepi expresses an exemplary lifestyle characterized by small group community coupled with personal responsibility worthy of the idea “We, the People!” We should support him in any way we can. (more…)
“I loathe nationalism. It is a form of tribalism–the idolatry of the century” ~Cornel West
When many of us hear the word “morals”, we often withdraw, flinch, find someone else to talk to or another place to be. In fact, morals, in the simplest terms, only refers to what we consider “good” (or “bad”). All of us hold them (moral positions, that is). We might not talk about them much (in a metacognitive, that is, self-conscious manner) but we express them constantly.
While a follow-up piece around Tim Snyder’s book On Tyranny was planned for this week, given the tragedy unfolding in the Houston area (and the general tragedy occurring in the U.S. in general), perhaps we should pause and give thanks for some instances of Good and the people who initiated them.
This week, on her weekly Action List, under the “Acts of Gratitude” section, Jen Hofmann posted the following entries (appearing here verbatim, but be sure to check out Jen’s list).
Acts of Gratitude Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.(more…)
I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do the something I can do. ~ Helen Keller
Help! We Need Help!
Who is “We”? We is you, me, all of us. In particular, part of our community living in the Houston, Texas area is in need of assistance, now and in the near future. As of Tuesday, August 29, the hurricane might make land fall again on Wednesday in Louisiana. With heavy rain and possible tornadoes expected, more folks might be in need. Reach out and help create the community many of us want to believe in. Here are some opportunities.
Some have balked at the notion of donating to the Red Cross, proposing that the organization is not up to the task of large-scale disaster relief or that they do not actually need the money. Whether such claims are true or not, folks still need our help (here-now and in the near future). Second, we need to express, if only to ourselves, that We are the those who will offer such assistance when anyone of us needs it.
Beyond the Red Cross
The New York Times has put together a list of other places to help. Take a look.
ABC News (with commercials) offers this encouragement as well as other opportunities to help.
In case you missed it, you can simply text “HARVEY” to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the Red Cross.
By arming ourselves with a solid understanding of best practices, we can all be ready to respond properly — and safely — when acts of hate unfold before our eyes. Every situation is unique, but the following list is meant to serve as a guide for how to best respond to acts of hatred and bigotry. ~Steve Tanner
His brief list of suggestions includes the following.
Draw Attention Away From Hateful Protests and Demonstrations
Do Not Engage with the Attackers
Focus on Protecting the Attacked Person
Alert the Police and Other Authorities When Appropriate
Prepare in Advance
Food for thought: Consider the principle of the “golden rule” which appears in some form in almost all major religions and which forms the basis of Good to which this blog often refers. Does a “hate stance” espoused by a group seeking to exclude others fall within the definition of a golden rule-type Good? (Do not answer too quickly. This so-called golden rule is not the same as “live and let live”.)
For example, a white supremacist might be perfectly willing to live in peace as long as non-white folks (and in some cases Jews) live elsewhere. While some hate groups essentially preach genocide, others simply do not want to have to deal with others they do not considers to be “us”. Is this a non-Good stance? What are the criteria for Good? How can we effectively express Good—treating others as we wish to be treated—in a pluralistic society? Perhaps the deeper question is this: What are the requirements for a pluralistic society sustaining itself within the idea of Good? What does freedom look like in such a context?